The NYC Newcastle Knights were defeated 23-16 by the New Zealand Warriors at Allianz Stadium on Saturday evening, unable to overcome a 13-0 half-time deficit.
Despite a spirited second half comeback, the minor premiers simply had no answers to the Warriors' raw strength through the middle and now eliminated from the 2014 finals series.
Halfback Jaelen Feeney was a standout for the Knights, bagging a try, saving one and threatening throughout.
The young Knights started the game strongly, a knock-on from the Warriors under pressure giving them a scrum 30 metres from the tryline.
The Knights were unable to capitalise though, and it looked as though they were made to pay soon after when Warriors halfback Mason Lino produced a wickedly spiralling torpedo that winger Braden Robson fumbled in-goal.
In the ensuing scramble Warriors fullback Brad Abbey seized the ball, but was unable to ground it with Knights defenders scrambling.
The Warriors weren't to be denied though, skipper Lino feeding centre Solomone Kata to storm through on the right and score two minutes later.
Lino converted successfully, the score 6-0 with eight minutes gone.
Lino was again the instigator when the Warriors grabbed another try four minutes later, the diminutive halfback placing a grubber down the right side for back-rower Marata Niukore to race through and score.
Lino again converted, the score now 12-0 with thirteen minutes played.
The Warriors produced their first error of the match two minutes later, fullback Abbey dropping a high ball under pressure.
Lamb scooped up the ball and went on a swerving run through the Warriors defence, but was pulled down bare metre from the line.
Danny Levi looked to have burrowed over from dummy-half soon after, but the video referee ruled that the Knights' captain lost control of the ball in the midst of the tackle.
In the 32nd minute the Warriors seemed certain to score again, forward Toafofoa Sipley bursting through the middle only for Jake Mamo to come up with the goods and make a try-saving tackle in front of the uprights.
The remainder of the first half dissolved into an arm-wrestle between the forward packs, Warriors halfback Lino proving the exception in the dying seconds with a field-goal to make the half-time score 13-0.
In the early minutes of the second stanza Feeney made an incredible arcing run, powering past multiple defenders to gain fifty metres.
Forward weapon Pride Petterson-Robati was the beneficiary, fending off attention to cross over in the left corner.
Bryce Donovan was unable to convert from a tight angle, the score 13-4 with five minutes played in the second half.
Four minutes later Feeney was up to his heroics again, collecting an arrowing pass from Boyce to bamboozle defenders with a dummy to cross over next to the uprights.
Donovan made no mistakes with his second conversion, the score now 13-10 after 50 minutes.
The Knights nearly scored again in the 56th minute, Mamo providing the platform with a 40 metre burst down the right and Lamb producing a grubber that Lachlan Fitzgibbon very nearly latched onto to score.
Abbey came to the rescue for the Warriors though, collecting the ball to be held up in-goal.
The Knights were unable to capitalise from the line drop-out, Sione Mata'utia making an uncharacteristic error with a knock-on near the line.
Feeney was outstanding once again in the 61st minute, this time scrambling in defence to tackle Warriors fullback Abbey when he looked certain to score.
There was no miracle defensive play two minutes later though, the Warriors' Ken Maumalo taking advantage of a stretched Knights defence to score in the left corner.
Lino did well to convert from the sideline, the score now 19-10 with sixteen minutes to play.
The Warriors struck again four minutes later, Tuimavave-Gerrard tearing through the middle to clamp down on a Lino grubber.
Lino's conversion was waved away this time, the scoreboard reading 23-10 with ten minutes to play.
With their season on the line captain Levi came up with the try that was needed, powering over from dummy half with plenty of attention from defenders to score.
Donovan nailed the conversion, the score 23-16 with eight minutes left on the clock.
With the Warriors pinned on their own line by a desperate Knights side, Sione Mata'utia was stripped of the ball with three minutes to play.
From the ensuing scrum the Knights looked sure to score, only for Mamo to be forced out of touch on the right wing.
The full-time siren sounded three minutes later, spelling a disappointing end to the minor premiers' 2014 season.
Knights 16 (T: Petterson-Robati, Feeney, Levi, G: Donovan 2/3)
Warriors 23 (T: Nata, Niukore, Maumalo 2, Tuimavave-Gerrard, Lino, G: Lino 3/5)